Smita Parikh, MD
A nourishing skincare routine that won't effect your fertility
When my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby, I knew I had to stop using some of my favorite skincare and haircare products. But, as the weeks, months, and years went by, without the use of those products, my hair and skin really suffered. The biggest cause was likely the amount of stress I was under (not to mention the lovely hormonal fluctuations I endured). Not only was I not getting pregnant and feeling awful on the inside but I did not feel so great about how I looked on the outside either.
At some point, I knew I had to take some action and ended up thinking of some of the beauty rituals my grandmother and mom used to do and I decided to start incorporating those into a weekly routine (usually on Sundays to set myself up for a good week ahead). These only require 1-2 natural ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry right now, and not only nourished my skin and hair but gave me a chance to reset and recharge while doing them.
When I was younger, my mom used to warm up some coconut oil and massage it into my scalp and hair, especially in the winter when it would get very dry. It felt heavenly and my hair always felt so soft and shiny afterwards.
All you have to do is warm up a small amount of any oil you like (almond, coconut, or jojoba oils are all great) and if you like you can add some essential oils like lavender or rosemary. Begin by applying the oil to your scalp and rubbing it in at the roots. You can either stop there, or apply it to the rest of your hair. Then run through with a brush or comb and put it into a ponytail or bun. Leave the oil on for about 20-30 minutes (be careful not to lean back on any furniture without having a towel underneath or you will end up with a big oil stain!!!) Take a shower and wash your hair with a gentle shampoo twice or until it feels like all of the oil is out and style as usual. You will feel amazing and your scalp/hair will get healthier the more and more you do it.
My next tip can be done in conjunction with the hair treatment above or on its own. Grab an oil of your choice and warm it up (about 1/8 of a cup) and massage it all over your face and body. Focus on massaging spots where you feel tension (your neck/shoulders, the arches of your feet, and your hands). If your skin is on the drier side, you will be amazed how quickly your body absorbs that oil! Again, try to leave it on for about 20-30 mins (I bought myself a bathrobe to use for when I do this so I can lay down and relax and not get oil everywhere!) When the time is up, for your face, take a washcloth and soak it with warm water and then apply it to your face and hold it there for a few seconds while the steam does it's job to remove impurities. You can use a mild face wash to remove any excess oil if you feel the need to. Then, take a shower but try not to use soap on your body. If you gave it time to absorb it won't feel too oily afterward and your skin will be smooth and glowing.
Both of these treatments would also be fun to do with your partner. You could create a spa like atmosphere and set the mood with some aromatherapy candles and soft music, and drink some warm tea together while you wait.
So much of our stress and tension is carried in our feet, especially after working long hours. Add some warm water to a foot bath and throw in some epson salt. After about 20 minutes, dry off your feet and smear on some petroleum jelly (foot creams can contain ingredients that you may want to avoid) and then throw on some socks and sleep with them. In the morning, your feet will feel like you've just had a pedicure. You'll thank me later.
These are easy peasy right? And the best part is, you don't have to worry about whether or not they are going to have a negative effect on your fertility. So go ahead and try it out and let me know what you think!